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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2007 Oct;9(5):408-14.

When ADHD and substance use disorders intersect: relationship and treatment implications.

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  • 1Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


There has been increasing interest in the overlap between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance use disorders (SUDs). In this report, we describe the developmental relationship between ADHD and SUDs. ADHD alone and in combination with co-occurring psychopathology is a risk factor for the development of SUDs in adulthood. Conversely, approximately one fifth of adults with SUDs have ADHD. Pharmacotherapeutic treatment of ADHD in children reduces the risk for later cigarette smoking and SUDs in adulthood. In contrast, medication treatment alone of adults with ADHD and current SUD is inadequate for both ADHD and SUD. Stimulant diversion continues to be of concern, particularly in older adolescents and young adults.

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